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October 10, 2006 12:03 AM

Broken: Two taps

TwotapsSean Cohen writes in:

There are quite a few public bathrooms where you'll see on the sink two taps - "hot" and "cold."

Under what circumstances would a person want to wash their hands under *either* scalding hot or freezing cold water, but not some combination of the two?


I don't suggest you spend much time in the UK -- this the norm there.

My method for hands while in the UK is: Dampen my hands with cold water (which hopefully starts off not TOO cold) - soap up (with no water running) - then rinse under the hot tap, hopefully before the water reaches scalding.

The more serious challenge is washing your face in one of these puppies!

(I've also seen these quite a bit in Europe, and I've heard it's the norm in New Zealand and South Africa, too.)

Posted by: Jamie at October 10, 2006 01:56 AM

My cousin has one of these in her bathroom... It's rediculous. They've got a really nice water heater too, so the water becomes INSTANTLY hot when you turn it on.

Posted by: Fyre at October 10, 2006 08:03 AM

This used to be normal in the U.S. as well. One of my great grandmother's friends lived in an old house and had a bathroom sink with two taps. According to her, one was supposed to fill the sink basin using water from both taps. In looking at the picture, it is not necessarily the two tap arrangement that is broken, but the fact that there appears to be no way to plug the basin. Also, this appears to be a relatively new sink. Why not get the standard single mix tap that everyone is already used to?

Posted by: ebob at October 10, 2006 08:17 AM

I prefer this setup.

I can bring the water to the tempature I desire. I can also have a measure of cold water or hot water for special uses such as cleaning.

For tubs I can get hot water a lot faster.

I curse the fact we can't have these any more.

Not broken - fixed like a truck.

Posted by: arcticJKL at October 10, 2006 10:13 AM

Maybe the goal is long-term saving for water & heating bills;) How many people take one look at that sink, and just walk away?

Posted by: Nutsy at October 10, 2006 10:30 AM

And in which way is this broken? I find it very handy.

An one tap sink would look more broken to me.

What if you need really hot or really cold water and there is only water with a temperature in between?

Posted by: gravano at October 10, 2006 11:19 AM

gravano, most of the "broken" faucets you refer to have a hot and cold handle. The water just mixes in the same outlet thing.

Posted by: S of J at October 10, 2006 12:47 PM

HANDY TIP: Generally, with those one-faucet sinks, you can turn the handle all the way to the sides to get very hot or very cold water.

Posted by: MattyMatt at October 10, 2006 01:12 PM

Ok, I see a use for this when filling a tub or something... But how are you supposed to use it when washing your face/hands? You have the option of either HOT or COLD water, and nothing in between. And having to fill the sink just to get a decent temperature mix is a complete waste of water. This is broken either way you look at it.

Posted by: Fyre at October 10, 2006 03:37 PM

I've seen worse sinks. There are sinks in which you have to push this 'springy' button. The faucet, thus, is timed and you're still washing your hands of soap. So I had to push it again (lasts only 5 seconds) at least 3 times!!! Did I mention it squirts very little water? And you can't control the temperature?

Posted by: st33med at October 10, 2006 03:41 PM

Here's an innovative idea. Why not put a temperature scale on a screw faucet. Problem is that there would be Celsius in Europe and Asia, and Farenhiet in America. (Who decided on our system of measurement any ways??)

Posted by: st33med at October 10, 2006 03:46 PM


>I prefer this setup.

>I can bring the water to the >tempature[sic] I desire. I can >also have a measure of cold >water or hot water for >special uses such as >cleaning.

>For tubs I can get hot water >a lot faster.

>I curse the fact we can't >have these any more.

>Not broken - fixed like a >truck.

NO,NO,NO,NO,NO!!!!! How can you bring the water to the temperature you desire, when you only have hot and cold! BROKEN

Posted by: Gabriel J. Smolnycki at October 10, 2006 05:13 PM

st33med you got a very good point there

but sometimes people don't know exactly how cold or warm a certain degree of water is, which they for example need

so maybe a combination of the "turn the handle all the way to a side" method combined with temperature controller

Then put 1 meter that names Celsius, Fahrenheit and maybe Kelvin ;)

Posted by: gravano at October 10, 2006 05:18 PM

Ya, a lot of people are talking about mixing for special uses, but did you notice that this is a *public* bathroom? What else would we be doing other than washing hands? For washing hands..extremely broken.

Posted by: Tiekyl at October 10, 2006 11:57 PM

Gabriel J. Smolnycki,

Step 1 plug drain (I admit the absence of a plug is broken)

Step 2 Turn on hot water - three twists.

Step 3 Turn on Cold water - three twists

Step 4 allow water to fill 1/3 of sink

Step 5 Test water temp visual and by touch - or thermometer

Step 6 Add more hot or cold water until desired temp reached

Also valid point that it would be better if their was one faucet with two knobs.


I have yet to find a faucet that works as you describe.

My wife and I had to come to a negotiated settlement over these. In the kitchen she gets a universal on/off temp faucet and all the rest have two knobs.

Posted by: arcticJKL at October 11, 2006 10:26 AM

For what the sink user is far most likely to want to do in a public bathroom, this design is quite broken (read: suboptimally / poorly designed). Others have pointed out why (scalding vs. freezing) which I personally (re)experienced during a recent trip to Ireland. What I really don't understand is how people can't understand that there's a better way. Typical faucet setups in the U.S. allow for a good degree of temperature control by either having two handles or one "lever" that allow the mixing of hot and cold water through a single spout. If you want it hot, you turn just the hot handle or push the lever toward the left, and you get water as hot as the system can provide. Same for cold. All the benefits of two spouts with far fewer burnt hands!

Posted by: exparrot42 at October 11, 2006 11:15 AM

arcticJKL, Your 6 step method of getting water at the temperature you want takes a good bit of time, a lot more water, and exposes you to anything (germs, etc.) hanging out on the basin surface. If you do it twice to flush things out, you're taking up more time and water. I do see you allow it would be "better" with two handles, one spout, but I would describe it at "vastly better". I know that whole nations and maybe even continents do fine with separate faucets, but I really just don't get it...

Posted by: exparrot42 at October 11, 2006 11:20 AM

The opinions on this topic are running hot and cold.

Posted by: KarmaBaby at October 11, 2006 12:09 PM

What I didn't know was that there are still tin sinks out there in public areas.

Posted by: st33med at October 11, 2006 08:34 PM

Oh yeah, and I will invent the "Bathe Number" faucet find your number from 0 to 270!! (Which is cold in Kelvin...)

Posted by: st33med at October 11, 2006 08:37 PM

Not broken, you're supposed to quickly move your hands between the two taps while washing.

Posted by: Moose Ahead! at October 12, 2006 02:11 PM

>Not broken, you're supposed to quickly move your hands between the two taps while washing.

Lol, I can just imagine. You soap up your hands, turn on both faucets, and start switching between the two yelling "ow, oo, ow, oo, ow, oo, ow, oo..." and dancing at the sink for 15 seconds, then you're done.

Posted by: TIBE4ME at October 12, 2006 09:27 PM


Still broken. As you said, there is NO plug, and you method is a BIG waste of water. Still broken.

Posted by: Gabriel J. Smolnycki at October 13, 2006 05:29 PM

Oh yes, articJKL, it is even more broken because I takes a long time to fill the sink. LOL.

Posted by: Gabriel J. Smolnycki at October 13, 2006 05:34 PM

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